The year was 1994. The people of Rwanda were embroiled in a devastating genocide. But even in the midst of incredible horror, God had a plan.
William Mwizerwa was a member of the minority Tutsi population, the target of the Hutus, and if he would have been caught, they would have slaughtered him. But then he was given an opportunity — he was given the chance to come to the United States.
Once he made it to the U.S., he worked to establish himself, find a home and start earning an income. But there was one problem: His wife and daughter were still trapped in war-torn Rwanda.
The faith-based movie, “Beautifully Broken,” which opens in theaters this weekend, tells a stunning story of redemption and trust while reminding viewers that, though our situations and circumstances might be worlds apart, God’s sovereignty is big enough to cover it all.
The film follows Mwizerwa and his family, another Rwandan family and an American family, revealing the true story of how all their lives intertwined. As the two African families are fighting for their lives in Rwanda, two American parents are fighting to save their daughter after she endures a horrific assault.
In an interview with Faithwire, iconic Christian singer Michael W. Smith, who portrays the American family’s pastor, Henry, in the movie, described the story as “remarkable” and “a faith-riser.”
“I think it’ll be a faith-riser,” he said. “Maybe that’s not a term? I don’t think I’ve ever used that. You just walk out and your faith rises. You think, ‘You know what? God’s got this, and I’m gonna be OK.’”
Smith went on to say the movie’s release is timely, given the division currently plaguing the country. The recording artist said the story — centered on two African families and one white family from America — “speaks volumes” about racial unity and the need for understanding.
That’s exactly what the movie is about, according to the synopsis. By the end of the film, the three families “learn the healing power of forgiveness and reconciliation.”
“Seeing people of different color coming together in the midst of everything going on in our country — we think the racial thing has gotten better; now sometimes, you feel like it’s gotten worse,” Smith said. “I just think this movie speaks to that.”
The movie is of great personal importance to Smith, too, because he has been a spokesperson for Compassion International, a Christian humanitarian aid and child-sponsorship organization, for nearly three decades.
The young American woman assaulted in the movie, Andrea, sponsors one of the girls in Rwanda during the genocide in the mid-1990s.
“I think there’s a lot of people out there who are skeptical about sponsorship and I’m telling you what, this movie portrays something incredibly amazing about sponsorship,” Smith explained. “I’ve been in Compassion projects all around the world and I’ve seen first-hand how it simply works.”
In the movie, Smith said, it’s the Rwandan girl who is there for the American girl “who desperately needs to be loved on, who went through a very, very horrific tragedy in her life.”
As for his acting career, the popular Christian worship leader said he’s “always wanted to be” in movies.
“I’ve always felt like I was an actor,” Smith said, “but it was never the first calling on my life.”
He went on to explain that he turns down most of the movie scripts that land on his desk in Nashville because “they’re not very good.” Every once in a while, though, Smith said, he sees something “pretty remarkable.”
When viewers leave the theater after seeing “Beautifully Broken,” Smith said he hopes it sparks within them a desire to “maybe go make peace with some of their enemies,” and for others, he hopes it leads them to start sponsoring a child through aid organizations like Compassion.
The movie premieres in select theaters around the U.S. on Friday, Aug. 24.